The author’s fascinating adventures in the early 50’s portray an adventurous lifestyle that most of us dream about, but would be impossible today. Born in Colombo (Sri Lanka) in 1931. He spent his early childhood in England and returned to Ceylon after the war to work the family business founded by his grandfather. Not the typical colonial type, who was expected to segregate himself from the “natives” and join their exclusive clubs. Tony went against the rules and preferred the company of the Ceylonese. This resulted in him making many friends, including well-known politicians.
He developed a passion for underwater exploring at a time when the sport was in its infancy and before the event of SCUBA. He gave up his job and a promising career and survived by spear fishing, catching lobsters, aquarium fish and hunting game in the jungles. He set himself up as an underwater guide attracting the wealthy and famous to this new sport. Charging nothing for his services, they repaid him by inviting him to their homes in Europe where he experienced a lavish lifestyle that he hardly knew existed.
During these trips, he married three of his four wives; two Scandinavian supermodels and an Italian actress, no doubt intrigued by his glamorous exploits. But none of them could fit into his adventurous lifestyle in Ceylon for long.
The powerful Minister of Tourism, a keen diver, himself commissioned him to promote underwater tourism. They became close friends, and he was involved in political intrigues. Even with almost no money, he lived very happily bartering fish, lobsters and game for food and drink. Fluctuating between simple and lavish lifestyles. He was the first person to dive in the nearby Maldive Islands and southern India, where he created a sensation.
This is an intriguing read about the not-so-distant past in a unique South-east Asian country – Ceylon- before it slid into political turmoil, isolationism, civil war…and is just now emerging as a stable member of the modernising Asian community of nations.